Alabama’s public health order updated, doesn’t apply to work-places and daycare facilities

Coronavirus

MARCH 20 UPDATE: Governor Kay Ivey shared an update to the below order. She says “Effective today, all non-work related gatherings of 25 person or more, or no-work related gatherings of any size that cannot maintain a consistent six-foot distance between persons are prohibited.”

Employers shall take all reasonable steps to meet these standards for employees and customers.

The updated order also expands the availability of child day care in the state as long as certain guidelines are followed.

Communications Director Barry Spear spokesman for the Alabama Department of Human Resources said, “Childcare centers may remain open and serve up to 11 children per appropriate room. There may not be more than 11 children in any one room regardless of room capacity. All other licensing rules including those concerning capacity still apply. There is no requirement that children be those of essential personnel.”

Thursday’s order previously said all preschools and childcare centers would close. The order said it shall not apply to licensed childcare centers that provide services exclusively to essential personnel such as law enforcement, first responders and medical personnel.

The order included clarifying language regarding senior citizen centers and schools. That clarification says the closure order does not apply to daytime special activities programs provided by local board of education for children ages 6-12 for medical employees and first responders.

  • All non-work-related gatherings of 25 or more persons, or non-work-related gatherings of any size that cannot maintain a consistent six-foot distance between persons, are prohibited.
  • Employers are to take all reasonable steps to meet these standards for employees and customers.
    Regular programs at senior citizen centers are to be ended, except that the Centers and their partners are urged to assure that their clients continue to receive needed meals via curbside pickup or delivery.
  • Facilities providing child daycare, including any child daycare facility described in Ala. Code Section 38-7-2, may remain open so long as 12 or more children are not allowed in a room or other enclosed or separated space at the same time. Facilities are encouraged to use enhanced sanitation and social-distancing practices consistent with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).
  • In-person instruction and classes at all schools and colleges are prohibited.
  • Local boards of education may provide daytime special activities programs for some children ages 6 through 12. These programs may be held for children of essential employees of these employers: State and local governments, first responders (including EMS and fire services), law enforcement, hospitals, nursing home/long term care facilities (including assisted living and specialty care assisted living facilities), end-stage renal disease treatment centers, pharmacies and grocery stores.

Other recommendations are as follows:

Hair, Nail, Massage and Tattoo Businesses

The department recommends businesses follow the CDC’s guidance for employers that can be found at  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/businesses-employers.html. The department recommends limiting the number of patrons and staff to less than 25, social distancing, no walk-ins, services by appointment only, spacing patrons in waiting areas, and posting signs not to enter and reschedule if ill.

Funerals, Weddings and Reunions (School and Family)

Limiting the size of gatherings at such events is burdensome, but because of the increased risk of disease spread, the health order includes all gatherings. A request may be submitted in writing to the state health officer for a specific exception. These exceptions will be closely evaluated based on the ability to maintain social distancing and to limit the possibility of disease spread. It is suggested that families have private family services and hold larger services later.

Caregivers for Elderly and Disabled

Sitters for the elderly and disabled who assist with feeding, bathing and other essential life activities will be considered medically necessary. Frequent handwashing and disinfecting surfaces are strongly recommended. ADPH realizes that the 6 feet of social distancing cannot always be observed when bathing and changing patients. Please do not care for any of these fragile patients if you are experiencing any illness.

Governor Kay Ivey: “As our state works in overdrive to respond to the Coronavirus pandemic, we are making decisions based on the best information we have in the moment. I have no doubt that as this situation rapidly unfolds, decisions will need to be evaluated and amended.

“Yesterday’s health order was issued to be as comprehensive as possible to combat the spread of the virus and to ensure the state was doing everything within its authority to protect the people of Alabama.

“In order to keep Alabama going, we must keep Alabama businesses going to the best of our abilities. I fully support the restrictions of social or recreational gatherings of 25 people or less and strongly encourage individuals to maintain a six-foot distance. However, this order was intended to apply to non-work-related gatherings. However, employers should take all necessary steps to meet these standards for employees and customers.

“Let me be abundantly clear – I have no intention of slowing down our workforce through unnecessary, burdensome regulations. We will only be able to mitigate the risk of the virus through the efforts of our hardworking manufacturers that will produce life-sustaining supplies, our truckers who move these goods down the road, and our valued retailers that will make them available to our citizens.

“My administration has been given clear instructions to do everything possible to ensure the continuity of government while being flexible and responsible to the needs of our state. I ask for the support of my fellow Alabamians as we work through these challenging days together.”

State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris: “Alabamians must cooperate, understand their actions affect other people, and take seriously the need to protect health and safety, because COVID-19 is a deadly virus.”


MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Governor Kay Ivey has issued a public health order that limits on-premise dining and closes beaches and preschools/child care centers.

Below is the full release from the governor’s office:

Governor Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) on Thursday issued a statewide health order to aid in Alabama’s efforts to contain the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). 

Statewide through April 5:

  • All gatherings of 25 persons or more, or gatherings of any size that cannot maintain a consistent six-foot distance between persons, are prohibited. This Order shall apply to all gatherings, events or activities that bring 25 or more persons in a single room or single space at the same time.
  • Any restaurant, bar, brewery or similar establishments shall not permit on-premise consumption of food or drink. Governor Ivey continues to encourage patrons to visit their local eateries for take-out or delivery provided the social distancing protocols include maintaining a consistent six-foot distance between persons are followed.
  • All beaches will be closed effective today at 5:00 p.m. For clarification, the term “beach” means the sandy shoreline area abutting the Gulf of Mexico, whether privately or publicly owned, including beach access points.
  • Preschools and childcare centers will be closed effective at close of school or business today. This shall not apply to licensed childcare centers that provide services exclusively to employees with: State and Local Governments, First Responders (including EMS and Fire Services), Law Enforcement, Hospitals, Nursing Home/Long Term Care Facilities (including Assisted Living and Specialty Care Assisted Living Facilities), End Stage Renal Disease Treatment Centers, Pharmacies and grocery stores.
  • Effective immediately, all Hospitals and Nursing Home/Long Term Care Facilities (including Assisted Living and Specialty Care Assisted Living Facilities) shall prohibit visitation of all visitors and non-essential health care personnel, except for certain compassionate care situations such as maternity and end-of-life.
  • All elective dental and medical procedures shall be delayed, effective immediately.

Governor Kay Ivey: “Despite our best efforts, the threat of the Covid-19 virus continues to spread and, unfortunately, we have not yet reached peak impact. The decision to place regulations upon Alabamians living in Jefferson County and its surrounding counties was an effort to contain the area in which the virus has been prevalent in our state.

“As of this morning, 68 individuals have tested positive for the Coronavirus in Alabama. While I am pleased that many of our citizens are self-regulating and are practicing social distancing, we want to ensure that Alabama is doing our part to flatten the curve.

“Closing Alabama beaches is not a simple decision but one that I came to with the consultation of our elected officials along the coast and members of my administration. After many rounds of conversations with local leaders, in which we discussed several options, I have decided to close beach access in any form. Since we do not want to promote social gatherings, keeping the beaches open sends the wrong message to the public. At this moment, the safety and wellbeing of Alabamians is paramount.

“In addition, we rely heavily upon our first responders and critical healthcare workers to help those who are ill, as well as essential state government employees to keep the continuity of government, and many of them struggle with dependent childcare if daycares close. As a result, I have asked the Alabama Department of Human Resources and the Alabama Department of Public Health to explore emergency rulemaking to make critical exemptions to allow for daycare to be provided for these areas of crucial personnel.

“My administration – and all the services of state government – are going to be as flexible as humanly possible to help make your government work for you during the coming days and weeks. I want to thank the people of our great state for their continued patience and for taking great care of themselves and each other during this pandemic.”

The Alabama Department of Public Health released a statement at 4:52 p.m. on Thursday clarifying the order released earlier on Thursday.

“ADPH is working to provide clarifying information in regards to today’s order, particularly the provision on social gatherings and its applicability to employers.  Further clarification will be provided on Friday, March 20, 2020,” the statement said.

Governor Ivey also issued a statement at 5:03 p.m. on Thursday regarding clarity on the order.

“I am working with Dr. Harris to bring clarity and provide further information regarding today’s order on social distancing and the impact upon our workforce. My intent is to keep the Alabama economy moving, and I will do everything to ensure this happens,” said Gov. Ivey.

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